Sustainability Transitions: Design, Diplomacy and Data

The 2020 edition of the Sustainability Transitions Summer School now online!

By taking this course, you will:

  • BOOST YOUR PROFILE. The School is a 10-days intensive learning experience designed to upgrade participants’ sustainability skillset through engaging lectures, eye-opening virtual visits to hubs in Geneva, focused contributions external experts, and social occasions to foster network-building.
  • THE THREE Ds. Designing sustainability transition requires a solid understanding of their conceptual foundations; Diplomacy skills are essential to align stakeholders to implement transitions; Data represents the essence of monitoring, which in turn makes sustainability transitions durable in time
  • THINK DIFFERENTLY. The School provides participants with the foundations to understand sustainability in the 2020s. This means acquiring new ways of thinking and new tools, including the nexus paradigm and the SDG framework.
  • LEARN TO NEGOTIATE. Stakeholders involved in sustainability transitions very rarely align their priorities; therefore, trained professionals are required to ensure implementation and reduce conflict. The School teaches participants how to boost their negotiation skills, as well as the necessary leadership skills. It does so combining cutting-edge concepts with hands-on simulations.
  • UNDERSTAND NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS. Successful sustainability solutions increasingly require a minimization of negative externalities. Nature-based solutions represents the standard of excellence to this end. The School focuses in particular on how to implement nature-based solutions in cities.
  • MAKE DATA WORK FOR YOU. To avoid failure of sustainability transitions, effective tracking and monitoring must be brought to the forefront and included in the design stage. Both require the provision of good-quality data, which in turn requires an understanding of data acquisition, data standards and data management practices. Moreover, understanding the disclosure and communication of such data is paramount. The School provides this knowledge package to participants, presenting the latest methods, concepts and tools with a hands-on approach.
  • NETWORK AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. The knowledge base of the summer school has been developed in cooperation with several International Organizations, which also provide experts to train participants on specific real-world cases.

Featuring presentations and cast studies from experts from various International Organizations (UN and non-UN).


Early Bird Deadline (15 February 2020): 880 CHF

Final Deadline (30 May 2020): 980 CHF

Special price for UNIGE students: 350 CHF

Note for all applicants: no reference letter is required for this course. Please only add your CV and your Motivation Letter to your online application.

Dr. Matteo Tarantino
Institute for Environmental Sciences
University of Geneva

Dr. Alexandre Hedjazi
Institute for Environmental Sciences
University of Geneva

Some highlights of the Summer School:

Stephan Mergenthaler from the World Economic Forum will provide you with the unique perspective of one of the world’s most influential Public-Private Partnership international organisation and organiser of the Davos Summit the knowledge needed for acting meaningfully in the field of

Gulnara Roll from the UNECE and Hossein Fadaei from UN-EMG will teach you all there is to know about sustainable housing and its relationship with data. This is an even more urgent area of intervention in a post-COVID world.

Spiro Pollalis from Harvard University will bring you a lifetime of knowledge about sustainable infrastructures, developed as the director of the Zofnass Program on Sustainable Infrastructures at Harvard.


All times are in Geneva time (CET). All sessions will be provided via the Zoom software. Access to recordings of sessions will be provided to students for the duration of the Summer School.

Geneva Summer Schools

International Affairs
Université de Genève
40 Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Genève 4